Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas felt impossibly huge the first time I played it. The three cities and winding countryside that connected them remain imprinted on the back of my mind even as modern open-world games grow larger and more intricate. So looking at all of San Andreas at once, with the distance-concealing haze turned off and the level of detail cranked up across the board, is causing me a little bit of cognitive dissonance.
Every image is striking, but the first few, which show some impossibly crisp aerial views of the three cities all at once, keep drawing me back. It makes the game world seem so tiny, like a model (ok, my first thought was actually a SimCity 2000 map), even as it reminds me of how much time I spent there.
I can see the highway overpass where I'd try to beat my record for chaining traffic explosions in Las Venturas, and just across the river and over the hill in Los Santos is the skate park where I perfected my car-vaulting BMX technique. Man, Rockstar should totally sell a trio of snow globes with all these city maps inside. I would put those on my desk so hard.
Many thanks and wistful thoughts to Imgur user Octopoid for putting those pictures together, using GTA: San Andreas' original assets running on a custom engine.
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